At first it looked like a scratch on the eye and I blamed myself for putting the hay into the guinea pigs’ cage too hastily. Tom would always get in the way, making his way right under the hay for best pickings. I would worry that stray pieces would get into his eyes.
The scratch then seemed to turn into a weird green colour. The pigs had been out on the grass – had a strand of grass got stuck on his eye by some chance?
It wasn’t getting better, it was getting worse. It was time to take him to the vet.
The vet, a very pleasant man who called Tom ‘darling’, peered into Tom’s eyes and stated there was pressure behind them. It was either an infection or a tumour behind the eye. Or it might be glaucoma but that would cause pain and he didn’t appear to be in any pain.
Tom agreed with this last point by greedily and angrily chomping on the cardboard box he was sitting in.
Whatever the problem was, not much could be done, said the vet.
The only long-term solution, continued the vet, was an operation to remove the eye. There were cases of one-eyed guinea pigs who were happily thriving. But there were risks with such an operation due to the animal’s size and there were possible side-effects of anasethia. Also, if it was a tumour, rather than an infection, there would be no point in carrying on.
Hmmm, a big decision. I couldn’t rush into a decision like that. So I opted for the short-term answer – medication. I was given painkiller (Metacam, which is also what Florence and Blaze were given), eye drops and antibiotic. The painkiller was for once a day, the antibiotic was twice a day and eye drops were for three times a day.
Tom received medication every day for the next two weeks and the eye, which was full of pus at the worst point, seemed to start healing. The pus, the weird green colour, the scratch is now gone and from a distance it looks healed although, on closer viewing, the bulge is still there although maybe not as prominent.
Three weeks on, I check on him closely and give him the eye drops daily. He’s still chomping away on hay and joins his friend Tim at regular begging sessions for lettuce and other treats.
From past experiences, I have learnt my lesson of being too positive and optimistic when it comes to small animals, of being convinced they are better before they take a downward spiral, but in this case, I remain hopeful.